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UpTone Audio EtherREGEN : Game changer or Hype?


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1 hour ago, aussievintage said:

Any links to his credentials, and what he has done?

I tried to find a online CV to no avail. I knew of him when he was at Sonore. The microRendu was ground breaking and SOtM took (stole?) the ideas for SMS-200.

 

I believe he was responsible for the Sonore microRendu, UltraRendu, OpticalRendu, the Uptone Audio LPS-1 and 1.2 linear power supplies. Some of his comments about various Upton's products

https://uptoneaudio.com/pages/j-swenson-tech-corner

It appears that John is not an employee nor partner but paid via royalties. 

 

 

Edited by Snoopy8
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2 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

If this device came out of the blue from an unknown company & person, you may have a point. But the designer has lots of pedigree including the micro/ultra rendu. Unless he has totally lost his marbles, there may be something? Why not wait for his whitepaper to see whether our current understanding is correct or has been changed because of new research?

 

Actually you should do a bit of searching around on the net and you will see not everyone is in awe.  The usb REGEN has been ripped apart for the same reasons (although there is one area that product may help with - that if you USB powered DAC has inadequate power supply filtering it can deliver a cleaner supply) 

 

This ethernet product has been discussed elsewhere. Similar reactions to mine. 

 

Just apply a bit of critical thought to this product before you fall for the marketing. 

 

The simple fact is that the data being delivered to the dac chip  is completely divorced from the Ethernet data. There is no physical connection and it is buffered in multiple places. There is no connection to from the ethernet clock to the dac word clock

 

Short of the data getting completely corrupted there is no way it can have any effect

Edited by March Audio
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1 hour ago, rmpfyf said:

 

A massive oversimplification - only works if you suggest if the buffer is quite large, immune to power fluctuations, etc.

 

I get where you're going with it - it's async, it shouldn't make a snot of difference at any rate. And even a DAC IC on I2S has a buffer of sorts - it processes parallel and yet it gets data serial.

 

In truth these buffers are small and data upstream is packetised. Audio doesn't work on packets - it's a stream - and packets aren't filled regularly. 

This is just plain wrong. 

 

The dac has a buffer and it calls for data.  If the buffer was too small the music would stop playing or glitch.  

 

It is clocked out of the buffer locally. 

 

USB absolutely is based on data packets.  So clearly what happens upstream is of no consequence in terms of the data being clocked out of the DAC word buffer.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_(Communications)

 

 

Edited by March Audio
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1 hour ago, rmpfyf said:

 

 

This is an ultimate personal determinant - if you can't hear a difference, awesome.

 

If you can, close it. Just because I can hear differences in mine or others can doesn't mean one or the other is wrong, or that one of us is dead or whatever. The internet's a great place to intone how wrong we each are though unless you've come over, flipped lids and had a listen... There's much to say and less to critique.

 

He pulled the ethernet plug out!  No change.  Doesnt that tell you something?

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7 minutes ago, March Audio said:

This just plain wrong. 

 

The dac has a buffer and it calls for data. 

 

Where? How big? To what effect?

 

My DAC has a few - including one in the IC - they're small.

 

Doesn't call a thing either.

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18 minutes ago, March Audio said:

 

He pulled the ethernet plug out!  No change.  Doesnt that tell you something?

Tells me it does nothing in his rig and it's be money wasted. As I've written earlier.

 

Does it tell you it's an absolute for everyone?

 

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2 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Where? How big? To what effect?

 

My DAC has a few - including one in the IC - they're small.

 

Doesn't call a thing either.

With respect you dont appear to understand.

 

Buffer size is not relevant to jitter.  The buffer only has to hold enough data to just keep ahead of what the DAC needs.  In simple terms the buffer holds the data words, 16 or 24 bit.  The local clock near the DAC controls when these are sent to it.  What happens upstream of this buffer, so long as it gets the data in time, is totally irrelevant.  The fact that the USB data is packetised and only sent periodically demonstrates this.

 

There will be further buffering in the computer, the driver, the music application, the OS and the Ethernet driver.  The fact that Ittaku could pull the ethernet plug out completely and noticed no difference in sound demonstrates this.

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8 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

Tells me it does nothing in his rig and it's be money wasted. As I've written earlier.

 

Does it tell you it's an absolute for everyone?

 

 

Precisely.  This ethernet cleaner will also do nothing.

 

Yes.

Edited by March Audio
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12 minutes ago, March Audio said:

Actually you should do a bit of searching around on the net and you will see not everyone is in awe.  The REGEN has been ripped apart for the same reasons (although there one area that product may help with) 

 

This product has been discussed elsewhere. Similar reactions to mine. 

 

Just apply a bit of critical thought to this product before you fall for the marketing. 

 

The simple fact is that the data being delivered to the dac chip  is completely divorced from the Ethernet data. There is no physical connection and it is buffered in multiple places. 

 

Short of the data getting completely corrupted there is no way it can have any effect

I have been looking, am cautious with my statements and have not fallen for the marketing. I will wait for the external reviews of the product and the whitepaper before deciding.

 

P/s I am from the sceptic side, choosing not to invest in modded switches, clocks, uber cables etc.  However a hack using the 2nd network port of my NAS to a SMS-200 Ultra has convinced me there is merit in keeping an open mind about how a router and Ethernet may affect the audio side.

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21 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

I have been looking, am cautious with my statements and have not fallen for the marketing. I will wait for the external reviews of the product and the whitepaper before deciding.

 

P/s I am from the sceptic side, choosing not to invest in modded switches, clocks, uber cables etc.  However a hack using the 2nd network port of my NAS to a SMS-200 Ultra has convinced me there is merit in keeping an open mind about how a router and Ethernet may affect the audio side.

As always watch out for placebo/bias effects.

 

Having an open mind is always a good thing, however dont allow it to fall out and roll around on the floor ;)

 

If you can do as Ittaku has and pull the thing out and music keeps playing then its clear it has no effect.  Get a friend to pull it out and back in without you knowing and see if you can identify which is which.  OMG that was a badly phrased sentence :)

 

If Swenson starts talking about ground plane noise then remember that you PC has horrendous GP noise regardless of what is being delivered via ethernet.  The ethernet adaptor in your PC has a isolation transformer, so whatever the this ethernet cleaner does its waveform will be misshaped all over again by this "normal" (and in reality perfectly adequate) transformer.

 

Edited by March Audio
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54 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

Where? How big? To what effect?

 

My DAC has a few - including one in the IC - they're small.

Doesn't matter.   As I posted, there are multiple buffers in a USB setup and the effect multiplies.   In any event it doesn't matter, as MA said, as long as the DAC is consistently fed on time.  

 

I always had a feeling about s/pdif. Maybe it's a bit less solid in design than we might like.  Looks like USB is more robust.  Have you tried your test that you had Ittaku do, with a USB fed DAC?

Edited by aussievintage
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1 hour ago, March Audio said:

There is a core group there who hate Uptone and Alec (CEO), John Swenson and putting these links here perpetuates that view. Furthermore, these links are not relevant for this product. 

 

ASR lost me when I discovered that there are no listening tests.  I am an old fashioned person who believes that audio is about listening to music. We have to agree to disagree on the relevance of ASR...

22 minutes ago, March Audio said:

If Swenson starts talking about ground plane noise then remember that you PC has horrendous GP noise regardless of what is being  delivered via ethernet.  

Clearly you are not a Swenson fan. 

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Reading the points of view expressed so far - mine included - one word comes to mind: fragmented! (No pun intended).

 

Why are we talking about the merits of pulling out an ethernet cable for local file playback, when the UpTone EtherRegen is designed for streaming?! 

 

And why are some of us dismissing the EtherRegen citing factors downstream of it like ground-plane noise and DAC connections? 

 

Digital playback is a chain of events where every factor is important! That's why professional audio-PC builders use bespoke network cards, USB converters, linear power supplies.

 

Sorry to say that a lot of the opinions here are speculative and not born of experience listening to / building computer audio solutions.

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

There is a core group there who hate Uptone and Alec (CEO), John Swenson and putting these links here perpetuates that view. Furthermore, these links are not relevant for this product. 

 

ASR lost me when I discovered that there are no listening tests.  I am an old fashioned person who believes that audio is about listening to music. We have to agree to disagree on the relevance of ASR...

Clearly you are not a Swenson fan. 

 

I was just pointing out that he is not universally considered any kind of expert. 

 

That dislike comes from the fact those products also have great claims made about them and yet when tested they do nothing beneficial and even degrade the output. 

 

More foo. 

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Guest rmpfyf
1 hour ago, March Audio said:

With respect you dont appear to understand.

I'll respectfully offer you the same respect.

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

Buffer size is not relevant to jitter. 

 

Yes it is.

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

The buffer only has to hold enough data to just keep ahead of what the DAC needs. 

Assuming that this need is constant then sure, buffer size is super small. The buffer size in my DAC IC is measured in bits accordingly (clue). The buffer at my USB interfaces is larger.

 

Assuming that needs are constant when dealing with variable packet size interfaces provided by interrupt equipped processors... is a gross misunderstanding. 

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

The local clock near the DAC controls when these are sent to it. 

 

Actually the clock is on your USB>I2S adapter in many cases, so data is clocked out from a buffer local to that device. Which for many people isn't a particularly large buffer, or a reference clock, or a particularly isolated device. Credit to the contributor here with the MSB, most of us pee in a somewhat shallower pond.

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

What happens upstream of this buffer, so long as it gets the data in time, is totally irrelevant.  The fact that the USB data is packetised and only sent periodically demonstrates this.

 

Assuming the data gets there in a completely jitter-free manner, sure. Which is not intrinsic to any packetised format (another clue). 

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

There will be further buffering in the computer, the driver, the music application, the OS and the Ethernet driver. 

 

I'm amused by these wholesale assumptions, though it's not exactly how things work to a common end. Quite far from it. Your Ethernet device gets a packet - what happens next at a hardware level (oh it's raining clues now)?

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

The fact that Ittaku could pull the ethernet plug out completely and noticed no difference in sound demonstrates this.

This demonstrates that his rig - from data source to his ears - is insensitive. Assuming anything else by inference is poor science. 

 

I can flip MTU, interface on/off, connection speed, cable type, subnet etc - also playing from RAM, kernel builds etc - and it's all audible. Doesn't prove you wrong (unless applying your suggested logic - which I'd not recommend) - just that my rig is relatively sensitive. 

 

I'd suggest anyone just pull the cable to test before spending any money... as I have suggested... many times and in many threads. 

 

And for the (lost count of how many) time... I'd not buy this product. There are issues with Ethernet that you've not touched on affecting PC use that I think warrant isolation, some of which warrant better timing, and most of which can be better dealt with given a large buffer at the DAC end and awesome isolation/clocking. This is where I've spent my money, and I'm intending the results of it make any assing about with Linux builds completely irrelevant. I get that for many people it's not practically possible, and that people beyond as much will just feel comfortable buying the product in question... which is better than some competitors in the field taking a DLink whatever with LPS and OCXO's, and charging the earth. 

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

Yes.

My experiences differ. 

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6 minutes ago, March Audio said:

 

I was just pointing out that he is not universally considered any kind of expert. 

 

That dislike comes from the fact those products also have great claims made about them and yet when tested they do nothing beneficial and even degrade the output. 

 

More foo. 

Although thousands of customers have reported positive improvements from his products, me included, we all can’t be fooled by the so called hype.

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2 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

I'll respectfully offer you the same respect.

 

 

Yes it is.

 

Assuming that this need is constant then sure, buffer size is super small. The buffer size in my DAC IC is measured in bits accordingly (clue). The buffer at my USB interfaces is larger.

 

Assuming that needs are constant when dealing with variable packet size interfaces provided by interrupt equipped processors... is a gross misunderstanding. 

 

Please explain why buffer size is relevant to DAC output jitter.

 

 asynchronous USB transfer mode means that a "downstream" audio device controls when the computer sends data through its USB interface and how much at a time. 

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2 minutes ago, awayward said:

Although thousands of customers have reported positive improvements from his products, me included, we all can’t be fooled by the so called hype.

 

I would very much argue that. 

 

Billions believe in God. ;)

Edited by March Audio
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16 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Actually the clock is on your USB>I2S adapter in many cases, so data is clocked out from a buffer local to that device. Which for many people isn't a particularly large buffer, or a reference clock, or a particularly isolated device. Credit to the contributor here with the MSB, most of us pee in a somewhat shallower pond.

 

Quite correct.  Whats your point?  It still doesnt affect the fact that the DAC is fed from a local buffer and timed by a local clock

Edited by March Audio
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Guest rmpfyf
47 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

Doesn't matter.   As I posted, there are multiple buffers in a USB setup and the effect multiplies.   

 

Um, no. This is not how buffering works. 

 

1 hour ago, March Audio said:

The ethernet adaptor in your PC has a isolation transformer, so whatever the this ethernet cleaner does its waveform will be misshaped all over again by this "normal" (and in reality perfectly adequate) transformer.

 

Yeah nah. That little thing? It's not intended for perfect isolation - far from it... Ethernet isolation was a thing in many other domains long before audiophiles ever got to it. 

 

17 minutes ago, was_a said:

Why are we talking about the merits of pulling out an ethernet cable for local file playback, when the UpTone EtherRegen is designed for streaming?! 

 

2 minutes ago, was_a said:

Sorry rmpfyf (I had to type that carefully!) - are you streaming or playing local files?

 

The EtherREGEN should work irrespective of what you're doing as Ethernet isn't 'active' when you're streaming only. 

 

My PC is Linux-based and I keep my media on a local NAS. I've a simple bash script that does the following:

  • Copies a file from the NAS to local storage (SSD) and to a RAM disk
  • Drops the Ethernet interface completely and/or any other network or interface modifications I'm after
  • Applies any filtering/dithering I want to add to the mix of 'options'
  • Confirms what I want evaluated an how long of the song I want played
  • Randomises playback among the possibilities (can't communicate with the PC whilst this happens so I don't know when the Ethernet interface is dropped)
  • Waits for a keypress to continue or a different one to repeat in same order, then
  • Lists what was played in what order

 

It's quite a revealing little experiment and I'm honestly surprised it's not a feature of more audiophile Linux distributions, as it's a nice little tool with which to gauge what's happening.

 

From this perspective if unable to do something like the above, simply pulling the cable altogether (should your rig allow it for an A/B test) should give you enough as to whether or not your ears are going to give a stuff over Swenson's latest $1k rocket. It's going to be situation dependent. IMHO it's designed like a bit of a sledgehammer for any possible Ethernet ills, I don't think most people will need everything it does. Of the products in the segment - should it work functionally - it's at least the least disingenuous. 

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4 minutes ago, March Audio said:

 

I would very much argue that. 

 

Billions believe in God. ;)

You don’t even know what products I have purchased from Uptone, so absolutely none are any good, perhaps using your ears to judge is inadequate.

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10 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Assuming the data gets there in a completely jitter-free manner, sure. Which is not intrinsic to any packetised format (another clue). 

 

Again this makes no difference.  You dont appear understand the principle of the local clock.  The data sits in the buffer and the local clock tells it when to go to the DAC.  The data can arrive at the buffer in a jittery way. It leaves whe the local clock tells it to.

 

Just think of a tank of water being filled in an inconsistent way.  You have your hand on the outlet tap.  You are the local clock.  Its up to you how regularly the tap gets turned on and off.  It doesnt matter how the tank is being filled.

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